Texas and California have urged spring break travelers to reconsider plans amid fears of surging COVID-19 cases after pictures and video of college students packing the Florida beaches flooded social media.
Popular spring break destinations in Florida saw college students packing the beaches in bikinis, but no face masks in sight. The surge in out-of-state visitors forced a popular Fort Lauderdale destination to ban any visitors under the age of 23.
“During Spring Break season #WharfFTL will be 23+ for all guests with out-of-state ID,” the announcement said.
Other popular spring break spots, including Los Angeles, California and Galveston Island, Texas, have braced themselves for a possible surge in visitors in the weeks ahead.
Concern remains high as multiple coronavirus variants across the country increase the likelihood of a spike in cases within any state.
LA County officials have highlighted travel advisories – still in effect – that require visitors to self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival, the LA Times reported.
“Please postpone travel and continue doing your part to slow the spread so that our recovery journey isn’t sidelined,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.
LAX has already started to see a “noticeable uptick” in travelers as spring break gets underway, CBS LA reported.
Meanwhile, Texas businesses are anticipating massive crowds now that Gov. Greg Abbott declared a return to normal after he shut down all restrictions.
Store owners on Galveston Island believe it will be important to keep some COVID-19 measures in place, ABC 13 reported.
“It’s pretty much business as usual except for the cleaning, the guidelines and the mask wearing,” Roberts said. “And, if we see that the store, especially on the weekend, is starting to look at capacity, we have those numbers in our head, then we’ll just stop at the door and say you have to wait until some other people leave.”
Galveston has seen as many as 300,000 visitors in previous years, which will mean a significant boost to businesses after a year of lockdowns.
“We’re surveying all of our industry partners right now to get a better feel for what they are going to be asking visitors to do. But, I think the best course is to bring your mask along,” Woody said. “We want you to be able to experience the most of the island that you can, and there will still be a number of places that are really encouraging that.”
Corpus Christi police have issued warnings that focus on more traditional spring break concerns than COVID safety: drunk driving, traffic jams, beach litter and fire hazards.
“We want everyone to have a great time out at the beach for Spring Break, but we also want to make sure they’re safe,” said Captain Trenade Paddock Roberts.